August 2009

Rockies Acquire Jose Contreras

Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun Times reports that the White Sox have traded Jose Contreras to the Rockies. Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune says the ChiSox are also sending cash to Colorado, and will receive righthander Brandon Hynick in return.

Contreras has put up a 5.42 ERA in 21 starts for Chicago this year, but has been particularly dreadful in August, allowing 30 runs in 24.2 IP covering six starts. He is in the final year of the three-year, $29MM extension he signed in 2006. Assuming the deal was completed before midnight ET on August 31st, Contreras is eligible for the Rockies' postseason roster.

Hynick, 24, was the Rockies 8th round pick in the 2006 draft, and has put up a 3.83 ERA in 26 starts for Colorado's Triple-A affiliate this year. He threw a perfect game earlier in July, and was rated the 22nd best prospect in the Rockies' system earlier this year by Baseball America.


Dodgers Acquire Jim Thome

SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers have acquired Jim Thome. The White Sox will receive infielder Justin Fuller in the deal, and are sending cash to LA that will presumably cover at least part of Thome's salary according to Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune.

The Dodgers were reportedly seeking a run-producing bat off the bench, and Thome would certainly fit that description. It remains to be seen how the 39-yr old will be used in Chavez Ravine however, as the National League doesn't use a designated hitter. Thome has played just 28 innings at first base since 2005, and is scheduled to become a free agent after the season.

Fuller, 26, was the Dodgers 11th round pick in 2006, and is hitting .254-.340-.418 in 205 at-bats for High Class-A Inland Empire. Assuming the deal was completed before midnight ET on August 31st, Thome is eligible for the Dodgers' postseason roster.


White Sox Willing To Deal Veterans

11:11pm: Joe Christensen of The Star Tribune notes that the White Sox writers have been told "to sit tight here in (the Metro)Dome pressbox."

10:39pm: Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune says "Thome looks headed somewhere, declined to comment after the game." Stay tuned to MLBTR for updates.

10:31pm: Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun Times says that "Thome might be on the move, or at least thinking about waiving the no-trade clause." Teams would have to acquire players within the next 30 minutes or so for them to eligible for postseason rosters. 

10:28pm: FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal adds Scott Podsednik and Jose Contreras to the pool of available Pale Hose veterans. He notes that Contreras "he has negligible trade value."

6:42pm: SI.com's Jon Heyman adds a few more names to list: Paul Konerko and Octavio Dotel. The 33-yr old Konerko is hitting .278-.351-.490 this season with $12MM coming to him next year. Dotel, 35, has a 3.33 ERA in 53 relief appearances and will be a free agent this winter.

6:09pm: ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the White Sox have "distributed a memo to a number of teams in the league informing them that a number of Chicago veterans are available in trade." Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, and Scott Linebrink were among the players listed in memo. The ChiSox are currently 5.5 games back of the Tigers in the AL Central and 12.5 games back in the Wildcard chase, so they're waving the white flag.

Thome, 39, is hitting .252-.375-.499 on the year, while the 35-yr old Dye is hitting .262-.343-.480. Thome is scheduled to become a free agent after the season, while Dye has a $12MM mutual option for next year. Linebrink, 33, has a 3.94 ERA in 48 relief appearances and is owed $10.5MM over the next two seasons.

The club took on over $100MM in future obligations when they acquired Jake Peavy and Alex Rios within the last month. If any teams move on any of the White Sox's veterans, they would have to acquire them by midnight tonight for them to be eligible for the postseason roster.



Two Teams Interested In Garland

11:00pm: Heyman says a deal between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers "looks pretty likely to happen."

10:22pm: Heyman tweets that talks between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers about Garland are "heating up." He also mentions that the Rockies and Yankees look less likely at the moment.

9:02pm: ESPN's Buster Olney says the Yanks "are not involved in any on-going trade talks for Jon Garland."

8:03pm: SI.com's Jon Heyman says the Rockies and Yankees have inquired about Garland.

7:26pm: Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports that two unknown teams have been "actively discussing" pitcher Jon Garland with the Diamondbacks. He mentions that a "potential trade likely would require the Diamondbacks to include cash to offset what remains on Garland’s contract, particularly the buyout for his 2010 option, which will be either $2.5 million or $1 million depending on which side declines."

The supremely durable Garland has started at least 32 games in the last seven years, and he's five starts away from making it eight consecutive years. The soon-to-be 30-yr has a 4.29 ERA and cleared waivers earlier this month. A team would need to acquire him before midnight tonight for him to be eligible for the postseason roster.


Odds & Ends: Scutaro, Hardy, Glaus, Giants

Just when I thought you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and link to something like this… and totally redeem yourself!

  • MLB.com's Drew Davison mentions that Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston expressed his desire about having shortstop Marco Scutaro around next year. "Well, I hope we get him back," Gaston said. "I don't know, maybe we have got a shot. It's just one of those things." Scutaro projects to be a Type-A free agent, so the Jays could stand to gain two draft picks if they offer him arbitration and he signs elsewhere.
  • Anthony Witrado of The Journal Sentinel has a quote from Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy, who felt like his demotion to Triple-A was a punishment. Because of how long he was sent down, Hardy's free agency was delayed by a year until after the 2011 season. As you can imagine, he's upset about it.
  • Meanwhile, Tom Haudricourt tweets that he's not "expecting any last-minute deals tonight involving the Brewers," and that "all is quiet" on their front.
  • Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post Dispatch notes that one of the Cardinals first callups will be third baseman Troy Glaus, who's been out all season due to injury.
  • After signing Brad Penny earlier today, Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News says that he's "told the Giants don’t expect any more moves this evening." There was some speculation that the Giants could be interested in one of the White Sox veterans that suddenly became available tonight.
  • Last night we learned that the Mets cancelled fall instructional league in a cost cutting move, but today Adam Rubin of The NY Daily News noted that the team will instead have its minor leaguers work out at their academy in the Dominican because "there's not enough competition in Florida, especially with the Cards purportedly no longer fielding an instructional league team in nearby Jupiter."

Twins Rumors: Potential Free Agents, Mauer

We already know that the Twins weren't able to swing a deal with the Cubs for pitcher Rich Harden today, but the Minnesota rumors don't end there. Let's recap some miscellaneous items…

  • Twins GM Bill Smith said there will be no negotiations with potential free agents Carl Pavano, Orlando Cabrera, Joe Crede, and Mike Redmond until after the season, according to Sid Hartman of The Star Tribune.
  • After word got out that the team has the money to keep megastar Joe Mauer in Minnesota, R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs took a look at the math and says that "unless Mauer really loves the area and takes a team friendly deal, I’m not sure they can meet his market value, and maybe you could argue they shouldn’t given the risks associated with being a catcher."

One thing to remember is that the Twins have brand new Target Field set to open next year, and new stadiums are almost always a cash cow for at least the first few years.


Marlins DFA Luis Ayala

Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel tweets that the Marlins have designated reliever Luis Ayala for assignment to make room on the roster for Cameron Maybin. Ayala had a bloated 11.74 ERA in 10 appearances for the Marlins, but a much more tolerable 4.18 ERA in 32.1 IP for the Twins earlier in the year.


Indians Rumors: Debt, Shapiro, Wedge

Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer sat down for a chat with Indians team president Paul Dolan and some other front office personnel. Lots of interesting information came to light, so let's dig in…

  • Dolan indicated that the team was $16MM in the red in July and headed towards $20MM. The trades of Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, and Carl Pavano bring that number down to about $12MM.
  • Jake Westbrook's injury will actually save the team money because insurance will cover about 50% of his $11MM salary.
  • Had the Tribe not made any moves at the deadline, they would have been looking at about $30MM in losses next year because of declining attendance.
  • Dolan has "no plans" to sell the team, nor has he received any serious offers.
  • "Mark Shapiro will be the general manager next year; that has never been in question," said Dolan. "He has done a very good job of rebuilding the franchise once after the 1990s. Our fans may not realize it, but our franchise is viewed around baseball as one of the better ones in the game."
  • The future of manager Eric Wedge will be decided after the season, and the $1.3MM owed to him in 2010 will "not be factor."
  • Pluto also provides some notes about several Tribe prospects, including Carlos Carrasco and Michael Brantley. Carrasco was acquired in the Lee trade, Brantley in last year's CC Sabathia deal.

Yankees Acquire Freddy Guzman

The Yankees have acquired speedy outfielder Freddy Guzman from the Orioles, according to The Star Ledger's Marc Carig. Baltimore gets a player to be named later in the deal

Guzman will head to Triple-A Scranton initially, and was hitting .219-.261-.289 in stops with the top minor league affiliate of three different organizations this year. The Orioles signed him to a minor league deal earlier this month.


Teams Interested In Mike Cameron

Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that there has been interest in Brewers centerfielder Mike Cameron, and that the Tigers may be one of the teams that checked in on him. Cameron cleared trade waivers late last week, likely due to the fact that he's still owed about $1.75MM of his $10MM base salary, not to mention another $750K in easily reachable bonuses based on plate appearances.

Cameron, 36, is hitting .258-.358-.459 in 517 plate appearances this year, his best offensive season since 2006. His once outstanding defense in center has declined a bit, but his +7.7 UZR/150 is still well above average. The Yankees expressed interest in his services last offseason. If a team acquired Cameron after today, he would be ineligible for the postseason roster.